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Bar News - March 9, 2007


NH Supreme Court Orders

 

LD-2006-0011

In the Matter of Thomas M. Walsh

 

On November 29, 2006, the Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) filed a petition seeking the disbarment of the respondent, Attorney Thomas M. Walsh. The court issued an order which required that the petition be sent to the respondent by first class and certified mail and that the respondent file an answer to the petition within 30 days of service. The return receipt, signed by the respondent, was received by the court on January 4, 2007. No answer to the petition has been filed.

 

Rule 37(16)(c) provides that if a respondent attorney fails to answer a petition filed by the Professional Conduct Committee, the allegations of the petition “shall be deemed to be admitted and no further hearing shall be required.” In this case, the petition alleged violations of the following Rules of Professional Conduct:

 

(1) Rule 8.1(b). This rule requires a lawyer involved in a disciplinary matter to respond to a lawful demand for information. The PCC alleged that the respondent violated this rule when he failed to respond to the Attorney Discipline Office’s letter of complaint.

 

(2) Rule 8.4(b) and (c). Rule 8.4(b) makes it professional misconduct to commit a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer, and Rule 8.4(c) makes it professional misconduct for a lawyer to engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation. The PCC alleged that the respondent violated these rules by signing the name of a former client to a power of attorney without the former client’s knowledge or consent; and by utilizing the power of attorney to obtain a loan from another person. The PCC alleged that the respondent’s conduct constituted clear and convincing evidence of forgery.

 

(3) Rule 8.4(a). This rule makes it professional misconduct to violate the Rules of Professional Conduct.

 

In accordance with Rule 37(16)(c), the committee’s allegations are deemed admitted.

 

Based on the serious nature of the violations and on Attorney Walsh’s failure to cooperate with the Attorney Discipline Office and to respond to the court’s order, the court concludes that disbarment is the appropriate sanction in this case.

 

THEREFORE, the court orders that Thomas M. Walsh be disbarred from the practice of law in New Hampshire. Attorney Walsh is hereby assessed all expenses incurred by the Professional Conduct Committee in the investigation and prosecution of this matter.

 

Broderick, C.J., and Dalianis, Duggan, and Galway, JJ., concurred.

 

DATE: February 20, 2007

ATTEST: Eileen Fox, Clerk

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LD-2005-0009

In the Matter of Paul F. Coddington, Jr.

 

On December 8, 2005, the Supreme Court Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) filed a petition recommending that we suspend Attorney Paul F. Coddington, Jr. from the practice of law in New Hampshire for two years. Because Attorney Coddington did not answer the petition, its allegations were deemed admitted. Sup. Ct. R. 37(16)(c). On March 28, 2006, we ordered Attorney Coddington to show cause why he should not be disbarred for his violations of the rules of professional conduct. Attorney Coddington did not file a response to the show cause order and, on October 31, 2006, he was disbarred.

 

Attorney Coddington moved for reconsideration of the disbarment order on November 13, 2006. After hearing oral argument on Attorney Coddington’s motion, we now grant it. We will issue an order in the future with respect to the sanction to be imposed for the violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct alleged in the PCC’s December 8, 2005 petition.

 

THEREFORE, the court orders that its October 31, 2006 order disbarring Paul F. Coddington, Jr. from the practice of law in New Hampshire be vacated. Until further court order, Attorney Coddington remains suspended from the practice of law pursuant to the June 30, 2004 order issued in case number ADM-2003-0044, In the Matter of Paul F. Coddington, Jr..

 

Broderick, C.J., and Dalianis, Duggan, Galway and Hicks, JJ., concurred.

 

DATE: February 21, 2007

ATTEST: Eileen Fox, Clerk

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The Supreme Court appoints the following persons to serve on the Access to Justice Commission, which was established by Supreme Court order dated January 12, 2007.

 

1.        Honorable John T. Broderick, Jr., Chief Justice, New Hampshire Supreme Court, Concord;

2.        Honorable Justice James E. Duggan, Associate Justice, New Hampshire Supreme Court, Concord;

3.        Honorable Steven J. McAuliffe, Chief Judge, United States District Court, Concord;

4.        Joceline Champagne, Esquire, New Hampshire Bar Association, Concord;

5.        Richard Cohen, Executive Director, Disabilities Rights Center, Concord;

6.        Representative David E. Cote, Chairman, New Hampshire House Judiciary Committee, Concord;

7.        John D. Crosier, Sr., Concord;

8.        Senator Joseph A. Foster, Chairman, New Hampshire Senate Judiciary Committee, Concord;

9.        Jonathan S. Frizzell, Esquire, Waystack & King, Colebrook;

10.     John W. Funk, Esquire, Gallagher, Callahan & Gartrell, Concord;

11.     Nina Gardner, Executive Director, New Hampshire Judicial Council, Concord;

12.     Jaime N. Hage, Esquire, Nixon Peabody, Manchester;

13.     Katherine M. Hanna, Esquire, Sheehan, Phinney, Bass + Green, Manchester;

14.     Senator Margaret Hassan, New Hampshire Senate, Concord;

15.     Russell F. Hilliard, Esquire, Upton & Hatfield, Concord;

16.     Barbara Hogan, Esquire, Clerk, Cheshire County Superior Court, Keene;

17.     Christopher M. Keating, Esquire, Executive Director, Office of Public Defender, Concord;

18.     Barbara R. Keshen, Esquire, New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union, Concord;

19.     Laura Kiernan, Communications Director, New Hampshire Supreme Court, Concord;

20.     Mary Krueger, Esquire, New Hampshire Legal Assistance, Claremont;

21.     Honorable James H. Leary, Justice, Nashua District Court;

22.     Michael M. Lonergan, Esquire, Sulloway & Hollis, Concord;

23.     Virginia Martin, Associate Executive Director for Legal Services, New Hampshire Bar Association, Concord;

24.     Grace Mattern, Executive Director, Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, Concord;

25.     Sarah Mattson, Esquire, New Hampshire Legal Assistance, Manchester;

26.     Jeannine McCoy, Executive Director, New Hampshire Bar Association, Concord;

27.     Kathy McDonald, Esquire, Deputy Clerk, Merrimack County Superior Court, Concord;

28.     Marilyn B. McNamara, Esquire, Executive Director, Legal Advice and Referral Center, Concord;

29.     John C. Norton, Esquire, Keene;

30.     John T. Pendleton, Esquire, Dwyer, Donovan & Pendleton, Portsmouth;

31.     Alex Ray, Ashland;

32.     Honorable Deborah Rein, Marital Master, Concord;

33.     Marta Rodriguez, Esquire, Nashua;

34.     L. Jonathan Ross, Esquire, Wiggin & Nourie, Manchester;

35.     Catherine E. Shanelaris, Esquire, Nashua;

36.     Mitchell M. Simon, Esquire, Franklin Pierce Law Center, Concord;

37.     Marcia Sink, President, CASA of New Hampshire, Manchester;

38.     David Snyder, Executive Director, New Hampshire Bar Foundation, Concord;

39.     John E. Tobin, Esquire, Executive Director, New Hampshire Legal Assistance, Manchester;

40.     Richard Uchida, Esquire, Hebert & Uchida, Concord;

41.     Honorable Timothy J. Vaughan, Associate Justice, New Hampshire Superior Court, Lancaster;

42.     Alexander J. Walker, Jr., Esquire, Devine, Millimet & Branch, Manchester;

43.     Marty Wagner, Administrative Office of the Courts, Concord.

 

The court designates New Hampshire Supreme Court Associate Justice James E. Duggan and United States District Court Judge Steven J. McAuliffe to serve as co-chairs of the commission.

 

February 6, 2006

ATTEST: Eileen Fox, Clerk

Supreme Court of New Hampshire

 

Pursuant to Part II, Article 73-a of the New Hampshire Constitution and Supreme Court Rule 51, the Supreme Court of New Hampshire adopts the following amendments to court rules.

I.  New Hampshire Lawyers Assistance Program

 

1.  Amend Supreme Court Rule 58.1(C)(1), regarding funding of the Lawyers Assistance Program, as set forth in Appendix A.

 

II.  Technical Amendment to Supreme Court Rule 37A

 

2.  Amend Supreme Court Rule 37A(I)(g)(8) on a temporary basis to correct a typographical error in the January 18, 2007 order that amended said rule, as set forth in Appendix B.

 

Effective Date

 

 

The amendment in Appendix A shall take effect immediately.  The amendment in Appendix B shall take effect on March 1, 2007.

 

Date: February 15, 2007

ATTEST: Eileen Fox, Clerk of Court

Supreme Court of New Hampshire

 

APPENDIX A

 

Amend Supreme Court Rule 58.1(C)(1) by deleting said subsection, which currently reads “[Reserved.],” and replacing it with the following: 

(1) The court shall annually assess a sum to be paid by all dues-paying members of the New Hampshire Bar Association, except those members exempted by order of the court, to fund the LAP.  

 

APPENDIX B

 

Amend Supreme Court Rule 37A(I)(g)(8) on a temporary basis by deleting one word from the subsection so as to correct an error in the supreme court’s January 18, 2007 order amending Rule 37A(I)(g)(8); said subsection as amended shall state as follows (deleted material is in strikethrough format): 

 

(8) The attorney discipline office shall a) prepare diversion agreements setting forth the terms determined by the attorney discipline office general counsel, the the complaint screening committee or the professional conduct committee; b) monitor the progress of the attorney participating in the diversion program to insure compliance; and c) notify the complaint screening committee or the professional conduct committee whenever there is a voluntary or involuntary termination of the written diversion agreement or upon successful completion of the diversion program.

 

To facilitate participation by as many lawyers and judges as possible in the New Hampshire Bar Association’s “A Lawyer and Judge In Every School” program in celebration of Law Day 2007, the Supreme Court of New Hampshire, pursuant to RSA 490:4, directs that participation by a lawyer or a judge in the program on Friday, May 4, 2007, generally should serve as sufficient grounds to continue any conflicting hearings scheduled on that date.  A judge or master may decide, in his or her discretion, not to continue proceedings in a particular case if the judge or master believes that interests such as the efficient administration of the court or ensuring justice in the case compel that a proceeding remain scheduled for that day. 

 

Date:  February 16, 2007

ATTEST: Eileen Fox, Clerk

Supreme Court of New Hampshire

 

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